This is the new BMW 4-series Convertible, which goes on UK sale in early 2014 priced from £36,675. Although it's got a new name, the 4-series Convertible deviates little from the recipe of its predecessor, the 3-series Convertible. It's still a two-door, four-seater set-up, and the roof is a three-piece folding hard-top contraption.
What is new about the BMW 4-series Convertible?
It's longer, wider and lower than the 3-series Convertible, and has a triple-layer soundproofed roof for improved refinement on the move. The roof itself retracts into the boot in 20sec, at speeds of up to 11mph. When lowered, boot-space is reduced from 370 litres to 220 litres. New, slimmer seats also contribute to a marginal improvement in cabin headroom and rear legroom in the new 4-series drop-top.
Which engines power the new 4-series Convertible?
At launch, the only diesel-powered model available is the 420d, good for 180bhp, 280lb ft and a claim of 55mpg. You've a choice of two petrol models: the single-turbo four-cylinder 428i with 241bhp, and the flagship six-pot 435i, which uses twin turbochargers and develops 302bhp. Both petrol cars are limited to 155mph, while the diesel tops out at 146mph. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all models, with an eight-speed automatic on the options list.
What's the weight penalty of that intricate folding roof?
Despite the car's 50:50 weight distribution and 19mm centre of gravity drop versus its predecessor, the extra weight is likely to blunt the 4's handling. At 1755kg, the 420d and 428i Convertibles weigh in around 305kg heavier than their fixed-head counterparts. The more powerful 435i is porkier still: its claimed 1825kg kerbweight is only 60kg lighter than its key rival, the Audi S5 Convertible, which musters a meatier 329bhp and applies it to the road via all-wheel drive. However, the Audi makes do with a canvas roof instead. Would you pick folding hard-top or soft-top? Tell us in the comments below...
Depends on the price, I suppose...
You'll need an extra £6000 or so to graduate from 4-series coupe to drop-top: the cheapest 420d Convertible is around £36,000, with the 435i model coming in closer to £45,000. The car goes on sale in the UK in March 2013, after an in-the-metal debut at the LA motor show in November 2013.